LAWYERS PLEAD GUILTY TO FINANCIAL CRIMES
JAMES L. WHITE, 49, a Seattle, Washington, attorney, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to a felony information charging him with Money Laundering, in violation of federal law. In a related case, A. MARK VANDERVEEN, 45, a Seattle, Washington, attorney, pleaded guilty to a felony information charging him Failing to File a Currency Transaction Report as Required by Federal Law. Sentencing in both matters is set for December 2, 2005.
Court papers indicate that during 2005, JAMES L. WHITE, a practicing attorney, was visited in his law office by a client who delivered to WHITE approximately $100,000 cash in a backpack, which WHITE knew constituted proceeds from the distribution of drugs. The currency was packaged in bundles held together by rubber bands. The money was provided to WHITE to be used in connection with the representation of the client. Rather than deposit the money in a bank account which would have triggered a federal currency reporting requirement by the bank for cash transactions in excess of $10,000.00, and in order to avoid that requirement, and to further conceal and disguise the nature and source of the funds, WHITE took the money to his home where he kept it hidden. In addition, and for similar reasons, WHITE failed to document in any way his receipt of the cash from the client. No law office records were created to document the receipt of cash, and no receipt was provided to the client. Thereafter, WHITE expended the money in a variety of ways intended to further conceal the nature and source of the funds.
In particular, during March 2005, WHITE met with A. MARK VANDERVEEN on two occasions, in the Western District of Washington, and delivered to VANDERVEEN stacks of cash removed from the backpack totaling approximately $20,000 U.S. currency. On one occasion, WHITE met with VANDERVEEN in a parking lot to deliver the cash. On the second occasion, the cash was left in a paper bag inside the Edmonds Courthouse for VANDERVEEN to pick up. VANDERVEEN took possession of the cash on both occasions. It was part of WHITE's intent in providing the cash to VANDERVEEN in this manner, to conceal and disguise his possession of such criminally derived funds and the nature and source of those funds. The cash was provided to VANDERVEEN as a retainer for VANDERVEEN to represent another individual then being investigated by federal authorities for participation in drug trafficking.
Following his receipt of this money, VANDERVEEN willfully failed to file a "Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade of Business" (IRS Form 8300) with the Internal Revenue Service, which VANDERVEEN was lawfully obligated to file as a result of his receipt of $20,000 for representation of a client. This 8300 form requires the filer to provide the identity of the individual from whom the cash was received, the identity of the person on whose behalf such transaction was conducted, and a description of the transaction and the method of payment. This form is required in order to assist the United States in tracking criminal payments. By engaging in a financial transaction using drug proceeds, with the purpose and intention of concealing the nature and source of the funds, WHITE committed money laundering in violation of federal law.
By failing to file a currency transaction report (CTR) for cash transactions involving in excess of $10,000, VANDERVEEN also violated federal law.
The felony offense of Money Laundering is punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years, a fine of up to $250,000.00, and a period of supervised release to follow imprisonment of 2 to 3 years.
The felony offense of Failing to File a Currency Transaction Report is punishable by imprisonment for up to 5 years, a $250,000.00 fine, and a period of supervised release to follow imprisonment of 2 to 3 years.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID). For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington, at (206) 553-4110.